The Tall Ships' Races are races for sail training "tall ships" (sailing ships). The races are designed to encourage international friendship and training for young people in the art of sailing. The races are held annually in European waters and consists of two racing legs of several hundred nautical miles, and a "cruise in company" between the legs. Over one half (fifty-percent) of the crew of each ship participating in the races must consist of young people. Between 1973 and 2003 the races were known as The Cutty Sark Tall Ships' Races, having been sponsored by Cutty Sark whisky. From 2004 to 2010 the races were supported by The City, Province, and Port of Antwerp. The current sponsor of the Tall Ships' Races 2010–2014 is the city of Szczecin in Poland.
The card displayed is about the 2008 Races when the finishing Port was Den Helder in Holland. For those who seek to combine sailing with maritime history, Den Helder offers the perfect blend. A major port town of 60,000 inhabitants, just 80 km north of Amsterdam, Den Helder is the Netherlands’ no. 1 seaport for offshore yachting. But take a step back in time, and Den Helder offers you breathtaking maritime monuments and naval fortifications, dating back to Napoleonic times and even the Republic’s Golden Age. Den Helder is the homeport of the Royal Netherlands Navy, has major fishing and offshore industries and offers no less than six marinas.
During The Tall Ships’ Races 2008, more than 90 vessels of the STI fleet found berths in and around Oude Rijkswerf Willemsoord, once the ancient Napoleonic dockyard of the Royal Netherlands Navy, now fully restored as a nautical theme park. Offering museums, dry-docks, cinemas, restaurants and a marina in a beautifully restored historical setting, Willemsoord is a maritime monument of truly European stature. Den Helder is a port well-known to many Tall Ships and other sailing vessels that took part in our 1993 and 1997 Sail events. Captains and crews may well remember the quality of our liaison service, our technical facilities and the extensive programmes for trainees, crews and officers. It is not surprising that the races in 2013 would once again be in Den Helder. This lovely card was sent to me by my friend Ineke from Holland.